Patna, Nov 26: Nitish Kumar-led JD(U)-BJP alliance's landslide win in Bihar leaves the state Assembly in a piquant situation with no party eligible numerically to claim leader of the opposition party status.
This situation has arisen since it is for the first time in the history of Bihar Assembly that no opposition party has got even 10 per cent of the seats at stake in the elections.
For an MLA to qualify as leader of opposition, his party needs to have at least 10 per cent seats of the total strength of the state Assembly(243 seats), which is 25 seats. The ruling JD(U)-BJP combine won 206 seats.
Neither Lalu Prasad's RJD with 22 seats nor its pre-poll ally LJP with only three seats meet the eligibility criteria as laid out in the Bihar Legislative Assembly rules.
The Congress with four seats and CPI and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) bagging a seat each are the other opposition parties which are nowhere near meeting the criteria.
"As per the constitutional norms, RJD does not qualify for the status of an opposition party. Since such a situation has emerged for the first time in Bihar, the issue has to be settled as per the legislative traditions in other states and Parliament," former chairman of the Bihar Legislative Council and senior RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh said today.
"The RJD-LJP combine having a collective strength of 25 seats qualifies to sit on the opposition bench, it entirely lies within the realms of discretion of the Speaker of the state Assembly to consider the claim," Singh said.
In the last Assembly with RJD having 54 seats in its kitty, former chief minister and Lalu's wife Rabri Devi became the leader of opposition while senior party leader Shakuni Choudhary was the deputy speaker.
This time, both Rabri and Choudhary have been defeated in the elections.
State RJD president Abdul Bari Siddiqui is the only prominent face to head the RJD-LJP combine in the opposition in the event of the new Speaker considering the claim of the RJD-LJP's pre-poll alliance--which will together have 25 seats--and giving an MLA from the combine the status of leader of opposition. PTI